The American Bar Association says there are 1,338,678 licensed, active attorneys in the US. Now many of those might not be the kind of attorney you need.
They might not be in Arizona or, more specifically, the Tucson area. Yet, when you open a search, you’re likely to find a long list of available attorneys in your area.
So, if you need an auto accident attorney, how do you narrow down the search to find the best accident attorney for your case?
Read on for the different steps you should take to find an auto accident attorney who’s the right fit for you and your case.
How Is an Auto Accident Attorney Different?
As you begin your search, you must keep in the forefront that you need an auto accident attorney. There are many different types of attorneys, and you want one who specializes in the kind of case you have.
Most attorneys who handle auto accident cases are personal injury lawyers. They handle cases where someone is injured because of the negligence of another.
Some personal injury lawyers handle many types of personal injuries, from auto accidents to slips and falls or dog bites.
Some personal injury attorneys will focus specifically on accident law.
When Should You Hire an Auto Accident Lawyer?
It’s not uncommon for auto accident victims to feel reluctant to hire an attorney. Even victims of more significant accidents want to brush off the need for an attorney.
The truth is that if you’ve been in any type of car accident, you need an auto accident attorney. You can’t anticipate the long-term impact of injuries from an accident.
It’s pretty common for insurance companies to lowball offers to victims who don’t have an attorney. Then, when you don’t accept, they won’t negotiate. When an attorney represents you, you’re very likely to get a better outcome for your case.
The more quickly you can hire an auto accident attorney, the more quickly they can start fighting for your rights.
What to Consider When You Hire an Attorney
With so many options for attorneys, you want to know what you’re looking for before you start. Let’s take a closer look at what you should consider as you look for an accident lawyer.
One of the first considerations is the location of the attorney. This is for your convenience.
An attorney might be able to work remotely, yet you’ll need access to them as your case progresses. You may need to go in for preparation or deposition.
You may need to meet to discuss your options. You need the attorney to be conveniently located for you.
Areas of Practice
You may run across an attorney who handles divorces and auto accidents. The truth is that you don’t want to hire that attorney.
You want an attorney whose practice is focused on personal injury law and maybe even specifically handling accidents.
When you hire an attorney who focuses on personal injury law and auto accidents, you know you’re getting an attorney who has experience.
They have spent time building a wealth of knowledge on how to proceed with your case.
Ask for Advice from Friends and Family
Often a good place to start is by asking people you know well if they have any recommendations. Hopefully, they haven’t experienced an auto accident too.
But often, you’ll know someone who’s worked with an attorney and can share their experiences.
Don’t be shy about asking your friends, family, work colleagues, or neighbors if they know of any attorneys they can recommend. Also, be specific and ask about their experiences in working with the attorney.
It’s good to hear both the good and the bad, so you know who might work and who you should avoid.
Begin Your Search Online
Many people will begin looking by searching for an auto accident attorney near me. While this is okay to start, you need to have a plan for how to whittle down your options quickly.
Make sure they are local to you and practice personal injury law.
Then take some time to get to know the attorney. Be sure to read online reviews. Remember, look for trends in reviews. Don’t get hung up on one negative review.
It can be difficult to make everyone happy. The pattern of reviews is most important.
Spend Some Time on the Accident Attorney’s Website
In today’s digital world, you can learn a whole bunch from a website. Sure, it’s what the attorney is putting out for you to see.
You will quickly realize not all websites are equal. It will be obvious quickly about some of the differences between certain attorneys.
Look for how they share information. Look to see if there are any personal references posted from previous clients.
Background and Experience
The background and experience of the attorney should matter to you. Usually, an attorney’s website has an About Us page that provides a bio on the attorney.
You can learn about their educational background and how long they’ve been practicing law.
When you meet with the attorney in person, you want to delve more specifically into their level of experience. You’ll want to know how much time they’ve had practicing personal injury cases.
You want to know if they have handled cases that are like your case.
Resources of the Firm
Often auto accident cases are taken on contingency. This means the lawyer doesn’t get paid until you get paid. They get a percentage of the settlement that you take.
Since an auto accident case can take some time to progress, you want to be sure the firm has the resources to work your case without having the money coming in until the end of the case.
Who Will Represent You?
Another important consideration is which attorney will represent you. It’s not uncommon for big firms to meet a potential client with a named partner. Then once the case is signed on, an associate with less experience takes over.
You want to know exactly which attorney will be working on your behalf.
Don’t be alarmed, though, when the accident attorney has support staff that helps with your case.
Not all attorneys approach the law the same way. Ultimately, you care that your attorney works hard to ensure a favorable outcome.
Having said that, you and your attorney are going to spend some time together. When you meet with possible personal injury lawyers, you want to consider their style and how they communicate.
Do they make you comfortable? Do they take the time to explain things to you well?
Trust how the attorney makes you feel, and you’re likely on the right track.
You might be surprised to learn that not all personal injury attorneys even go to trial. They are actually in the business of settling cases.
Now, it’s good to know that only a small percentage of auto accident cases ever go to trial. Yet, if your case isn’t progressing as expected, then it may need a trial verdict.
You want to know that the attorney you hire is experienced in trial cases too. You should know that they’re willing to take your case to a trial if it’s warranted.
Important Questions to Get Answered
Most attorneys are willing to do a consultation meeting free of charge before you hire them. If you have done your homework before the meeting, you probably already know quite a bit about the attorney.
So, when you meet with them, you want to focus on specific questions that will help you understand their experience level, previous outcomes, and what you should expect with your case.
Let’s take a closer look at a few questions you want to be answered.
Have You Handled Cases Like Mine Before?
An important and telling question is to ask the auto accident attorney to discuss if they have handled previous cases that are similar to your case.
It’s important to know that an attorney is obligated not to share specifics of other cases. Yet, they should be able to talk about some of the cases they’ve handled that are similar to your case.
This question does a few things for you. It gives you a deeper insight into their experience level. It also helps you to see how the attorney is likely to handle a case they work on.
How Do You Expect My Case to Proceed?
Next, you want to ask your attorney to provide you with some information about how they would expect your case to proceed.
Be aware they can’t make predictions since they don’t know how the opposing side might respond. Yet, they should have enough experience to talk you through what steps they will take for your case.
They should also be able to give you a rough timeline of how the case is likely to move forward and what you might expect at each step along the way.
What Outcomes Have You Had With Similar Cases?
Again, a lawyer can’t divulge the exact specifics of any case. However, they can share some information on their previous outcomes for cases similar to yours.
Any good lawyer will be happy to discuss their success stories. Frankly, an auto accident attorney is in business to get money for their clients after an accident.
Your attorney should be well-versed in the data connected to their previous outcomes.
While your case may not be the same, it does give you a benchmark for how your case might proceed. The lawyer should also be able to point out how your case might take a different turn, impacting your case outcomes.
What Outcome Do You Predict for My Case?
You want the best lawyer and are willing to do the legwork to find them so you can get the best outcome.
A car accident can leave you with mounting medical bills, recovery time, rehabilitative care expenses, and lost wages. The bills can add up quickly.
You can also be traumatized by a car accident. This is where your attorney will factor in the pain and suffering you’ve experienced.
An experienced auto accident lawyer will know how to add up your expenses and lost wages and consider your pain and suffering. It will give the attorney a point to start their negotiations on your behalf.
They should be willing and prepared to discuss how they would proceed once they’ve calculated this information.
Discuss Costs and Fees Connected to Your Case
You never want to hire someone without knowing what it will cost you. Remember, most attorneys work on this type of case on a contingency.
They get paid a percentage of whatever money they get you for the case. It’s a pretty solid motivator for the attorney to work hard on your behalf.
You should expect to sign some type of contract where all the numbers involved in the case are spelled out. If your attorney is vague on this, you don’t have the right attorney.
Choosing the Best Auto Accident Attorney
After all the work, hiring the best auto accident attorney might come down to trusting your instincts. Learn all you can about a potential attorney.
Meet with them, and see how you feel about their style and manner. Do they make you feel confident they are going to work hard on your behalf?
You have to hire an attorney you believe in and feel trust towards to have a good working relationship.
Get the Right Auto Accident Attorney for Your Case
While it might feel like there’s a lot to consider as you navigate hiring an auto accident attorney, the steps are important. This will ensure you find the best attorney for your case.
If you need the expertise of an attorney who specializes in auto accidents, we can help. Contact us today so we can get to work helping you with your case.